Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Visit From Mom Mom and Pop Pop

Mom Mom and Pop Pop came for a visit last week and we had a very nice time.  One of the places we went while they were here is a zoo in a city not far from our home.  It was a beautiful day, although a bit warm.  Here are the pictures, mostly taken by Night Owl ...
                            (Dad, with Mom Mom and Pop Pop)

(The boys, watching a tide pool as "waves" roll in)

(Night Owl holds Beany up to see the penguins being fed)

(Otters are my favorite!)

(This fellow seemed less than enthused)

(Pop Pop)

(Dad and Mom Mom - I'm not sure what they are looking at)

(Builder and Social Butterfly, learning about lion skulls)

(An air conditioned spot to take a rest!)

The trip to the zoo was a perfect ending to an enjoyable visit from Mom Mom and Pop Pop.  They are headed west now, and in our prayers and they make the long journey to the other side of the U.S.!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Construction Zone


Sorry about the mess.  Making a few changes here and hope to be done soon!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Rock Wall Climbing

When a priest who is a friend came back from Rome for a visit the first thing he wanted to do is go rock wall climbing.  This priest is a great person and really enjoys kids.  So of course, all the kids came!  There were quite a few families so we filled the place.  Everyone had a great time!  For some reason, maybe the lighting, it's hard for me to get pictures at the "Rock Wall Climbing place" without them being blurry.  But here are some that aren't too bad.
(Fr. "D" explains to Builder how the harness and pulleys work.  Builder was of course more interested in the pulley systems than in the actual climbing, but he did his share of that too.

I was very proud of Social Butterfly who made it all the way to the top despite her fear of heights.  Then she went back and did it again, and even moved on to the more difficult wall.

Night Owl was of course only willing to try the advanced wall.  It's quite a challenge. 

Here, Jetter argues with  talks to friends about who will make it to the top first.  I can't believe I didn't get any pictures of Jetter climbing!  He was like Spider Man on that wall!  I don't know how many times he was up and down.  Here's a picture from a previous wall climbing trip to keep things fair.

Even Beany got in on the fun!

It was a great day and we're thankful that Father "D" will be here for a while.  The big kids will be doing rock wall climbing and pizza quite often while he is here.  I can't think of a better person for Night Owl to be friends with!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Beany's 3!

In celebration of Beany's 3rd birthday, we spent a beautiful day at the beach.  I didn't realize that we had yet to take Builder or Beany to any of the Great Lakes.  Builder was amazed at how big it was.  "Just like the ocean!" he said.

We started the day with a picnic in a shelter near the beach.  Beany's birthday cake was a little less than amazing, but I'm still working on my gluten free baking skills! 

It did taste good though and he didn't seem to mind that the breeze kept us from actually lighting the candles.

After lunch and birthday cake Beany opened his presents.  He was thrilled with everything!

Finally, we headed to the beach for some fun in the sun.  It was a warm day so the kids spent plenty of time in the water.

 They also enjoyed playing in the sand and even taking a rest.

 Dad and I talked about how we should do this more often. 

Happy Birthday Beany!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Planning 3: Curriculum for Jetter ~ 4th Grade

I have read a lot of blog posts regarding planning lately and I admire those people who can, in a very succinct way, describe the curriculum choices they have made for their children.  I am not that gifted!  My posts tend to go on and on, and I apologize for that.  I guess I'm just a "wordy" person.  I had originally intended to include the plans for all of my children in this post but that didn't work.  So here is part 2, in which I will describe the plans for Jetter, my 4th grader, and there will be yet another post regarding plans for Social Butterfly, who will be in 6th grade.

Once again, I must include the fact that we are enrolled with Mother of Divine Grace School .  They are self described as an accredited "distance education program".  We first enrolled with MODG when Night Owl was entering 6th grade.  At that time, although I enjoyed putting together my own curriculum, I really felt I wanted the accountability that MODG provides.  I also felt that the program was very thorough and I  believe the classical method, in the way the founder, Laura Berquist, utilizes it, is an excellent way to teach the children..  I have also always been interested in, and used much of the methodology of Charlotte Mason.  With MODG, much of that methodology is already incorporated in the program.  The other benefit that I have enjoyed with MODG is the availability of a consultant.  My consultant and I have become good friends over the years.  She knows about my children, their learning styles, their difficulties, their strengths, and she has been great at advising me in certain curriculum choices.  Even though MODG has a certain curriculum they recommend, it is no surprise that some children need alternatives.  My consultant has been great in advising me when these alternatives are required.  So, with that little plug for MODG ;), on to Jetter...

Jetter is my one child that I could describe as a "square peg in a round hole" when it comes to MODG.  But, as I mentioned, my consultant has been very helpful in helping me to find the right fit for him.  (I would also just like to add here that MODG provides special needs advisors for those children who have academic struggles.) 

Even though Jetter has struggled in some areas of learning, he is extremely bright and quite creative.  The questions he often asks, or the ideas he comes up with can be amazing.    In regards to learning styles, Jetter is a strong visual learner.  I sometimes call him "Eagle Eye" just for fun, or when I'm looking for something and need his help.  He has an amazing ability to remember the smallest details and I try to use this ability when teaching him.  This is one of the reasons that I am including more study of sight words in his curriculum this year.   He is also a very mathematical thinker.  He understands concepts that are way beyond his grade level. 

Jetter's struggles come mostly in the area of relating what he knows, specifically anything written.  He has always struggled with handwriting and shows all the signs of a person with disgraphia (I've been studying!).  Early on, when math came easily to him but writing the answers was almost impossible, the Montessori Method came to the rescue.  The manipulatives he was able to use helped him to grow in his knowledge of the concepts without being slowed down because he couldn't write those answers in a workbook.  The same goes for his spelling.  He is a very good speller, but couldn't write the words well enough to prove it.  The Montessori Movable Alphabet really came in handy here.  Now I have a program that I will describe later that also allows him to strengthen his spelling abilities without being hampered by poor writing skills.
So for Jetter, I will just say that while he might struggle with relating what he knows, he has no struggle knowing it!

I will also mention that Jetter's reading ability is not quite at grade level.  This does cause some challenges as we try to follow the MODG recommendations, but it is not something I worry too much about.  When Night Owl started homeschooling in 3rd grade, his reading abilities were not as developed as Jetter's.  We just kept plugging away at it and by 6th grade he was devouring books like the Lord of the Rings series, the Redwall series and the Complete Sherlock Holmes.  Better yet, he was comprehending what he was reading and was able to narrate them beautifully, in full detail.  So, for Jetter, I'm not too worried.  I will make necessary adjustments and we will continue to plug away at it.  Reading every single day is the main strategy that I believe will help.  Jetter will be doing more phonics, but I think that's mostly for my benefit.  He really has a great understanding of many of the phonics rules.  It's more of a need to apply them as he reads which will come with time and practice.

Here are the subjects Jetter will be studying and the materials we will be using ~

Math - Like Builder, Jetter will be using the Abeka Mathematics text.  Typically, MODG changes in 4th grade to Saxon but I believe Abeka will be a better fit.  For one thing, it is a workbook while Saxon is a textbook.  Because Abeka is a workbook, Jetter will be able to write his answers directly into the book and that will be easier for him.  One of Jetter's other struggles is that he is very easily distracted and he needs something that not only appeals to him visually (which the Abeka book should do) but it also needs to be challenging enough.  If he is bored with a program it becomes very difficult to keep him on task.  I think Abeka will provide the challenge he needs to stay focused.

I've also added another resource, called "Math It", for Jetter.  His understandings of the mathematical concepts come easily but memorizing the math facts is more of a challenge.  Trying to do long division, when you don't have the math facts memorized can be very tedious work!  I'm hoping Math It will be a good resource for this.

Religion ~ In Religion, like Builder, Jetter will be studying in three areas - Bible, Catechism, and the Saints.
For Bible, Jetter has moved on from the Bible stories of the earlier years.  He is now studying Bible History.
We will use Schuster's Bible History for this purpose.  This book will be quite challenging to read for Jetter so I will be reading the book with him.  For Catechism, Jetter will be using the Baltimore Catechism #1.  For the study of the saints I've found something a little different for Jetter.  This Holy Traders Activity Kit is sure to catch and hold his interest.  For one thing, there are trading cards of the saints.  For each trading card there is information to be read and a worksheet to complete.  Then, the kit comes with storage pages so that he can keep his cards organized.  I'm thinking we will study one saint a week, and after reading about that saint and finishing the workbook page, Jetter will get the card to keep in his organizer.  Once again, I  must say though, that Religion isn't just about the academics.  It's the living of our faith that is so important.  Jetter can more fully participate now that he has made his First Communion and First Confession. 

Reading ~ I mentioned above that Jetter will be doing more work on phonics this year. For fourth grade Mother of Divine Grace does not give a specific resource for phonics or reading instruction.  There is plenty of reading though!  The phonics is actually combined with the recommended spelling program.  I see the importance of this, and I appreciate that MODG does combine the various subjects (for example, writing is combined with history so the papers being written are about the history they are reading about).  But for Jetter I've added a couple of the  Explode the Code workbooks to keep some of the concepts fresh.  We will also be working on the same sight words program that I am using for Builder,  Sight Words in a Flash but at a different level of difficulty.  Finally, there will be daily reading practice.  I don't have a specific program for this because there are so many great books that MODG recommends for history.  We will simply work our way through these.  Jetter is also fond of the Magic Treehouse Books which we read occasionally and he enjoys reading on his own at bedtime.   One thing for sure is that Jetter will always find something to read, or something he wants me to read to him.  He is very curious about so many things and he has discovered that books are an excellent way to learn about them.

Handwriting ~ Here is another subject for which MODG does not give a specific recommendation.  As I mentioned above, handwriting is a real struggle for Jetter.  Night Owl struggled with it as well and I'm not exaggerating that his handwriting only became legible when he entered the high school years.  But Jetter's struggles are different.  Early on, I discovered the Handwriting Without Tears program.  This has been an excellent program for Jetter.  The products and methodology, described in the teacher's guides have really helped me to teach Jetter.  I know that some say the font is not so pretty, but when you have a child that struggles so, it is a blessing to see legible handwriting.  One very interesting thing I have found is that Jetter's cursive is nicer than the print.  Perhaps it's the start/stop of the print that makes it more difficult.  I don't know exactly, but his cursive is much more easy to read and he enjoys practicing it.  Now, the really neat thing that I will be using with Jetter, besides the Handwriting Without Tears workbook,  is something called Startwrite.  This is actually a program for the computer that will allow me to create copywork for Social Butterfly and Jetter.  I prefer the use of copywork for handwriting practice,  to teach concepts in sentence formation, and other writing skills.  I have had my eye on Startwrite for some time but couldn't see purchasing it because of Jetter's struggles.  BUT, I have now discovered that Startwrite will allow me to use the Handwriting Without Tears font!    I'm very happy about this.  I will print off passages for Jetter to copy into his copywork notebook.  This will be handwriting practice, but since I will use quotes from some of his favorite books it will be more interesting for him.  I can go on and on about the value of copywork for teaching so many things, but that will have to be a post for another day.  Here I am, using too many words again!

(Jetter and his good friends)
Language Arts ~  Speaking of copywork, MODG recommends a Language Arts resource in which copywork in already included.  Because of this, Jetter will only do copywork that I have created for him using the Startwrite program on days that it is not already required by the MODG syllabus.  For Language Arts, MODG recommends a book called Intermediate Language Lessons.  This is a reprint from the original book which was published in 1914!  I used this resource for both Night Owl and Social Butterfly and it works well in teaching them the Language Arts concepts they need to learn at this age.  MODG describes it well with this quote: 
 "Intermediate Language Lessons includes all the elements that are appropriate for the language development of the student in this stage of formation.  He works on patterns of language and that involves copying, dictation, conversation, usage exercises and creative writing.  All of these are included in Intermediate Language Lessons."
Now, with Jetter's writing and reading struggles I have to admit I was a little concerned that this might be too difficult for him.  I did find this version of the same book though.  For one thing, it is larger (8 1/2 x 11), which will make it easier for Jetter to read.  It also lays flat since it is spiral bound, and it is a "write in" book.  This will be a big help to Jetter.  The down side is that it makes the book consumable which means it will only last through one student.  The other book was originally to be used for all the kids.  But, one of the benefits of homeschooling is that we can do what is necessary for each of the children, to meet their needs.

Spelling ~  For spelling, Jetter will use the program called All About Spelling.  This is the perfect fit for Jetter.  For one thing, the program uses letter tiles to teach the concepts.  This means Jetter doesn't have to focus so much on the writing, he can instead concentrate on the spelling rules.  Another benefit is the use of a white board and instead of lessons, this program uses "levels".  For some reason, this concept of levels is very motivational for Jetter.  This program is a little more expensive that many spelling books, but it is non consumable and I will use it for the rest of the kids as well.

History ~  I love the history program through Mother of Divine Grace!  The text book used, Our Pioneers and Patriots, is the same one I used for Night Owl and Social Butterfly.  I have to say that my kids haven't been really fond of text books, but the additional reading MODG recommends makes the history come alive.  I will be using some of the additional reading books as read alouds for the kids during our morning history reading time.  Social Butterfly has already read them, but most are so well written, she wont mind hearing them again.  Some of the other books will be books that Jetter uses for reading practice, as well as just free reading on his own.  The list for 4th grade is quite long, so instead of listing each book, I will suggest that you go to The Mother of Divine Grace Booklist, found at the bottom of the link to see a list of the recommended books.  Each of the kids will have a sketch journal that they will use for sketching as I read to them from many of these books.  We started this last year when I read the book "Madeline Takes Command" and the sketches that all the kids did were very impressive!  They were then able to use these sketches to retell the story in their own words.  It was such an enjoyable exercise for all the kids (and me too!), I will make sure to include it more often this year. Along with American History, Jetter will also be sitting in to hear the read alouds from Social Butterfly's study of Ancient Egypt.  As with Builder, I have some materials that Jetter can work on while listening.  These are the Ancient Egypt Dot to Dot book (more difficult than it sounds!) and the Ancient Egypt Drawing Book.  Jetter loves to draw so this will be something he really enjoys.

Geography ~ For geography, Jetter will continue to work on memorizing the states and capitols and work in a map skills workbook.  Jetter is very interested in the study of maps so I will be incorporating more hands on work in this area.  I'll have to post about that later though, as I haven't got all the details worked out yet.  Night Owl was also a big fan of studying geography so I have many resources already at hand.  It's just a matter of organizing them all.

Science ~ Jetter is very interested in the Solar System so I will follow that interest and we will be using the Apologia Astronomy Text.  I find the Apologia books to be very interesting to read and the kids enjoy them which makes all the difference in the world.  I will also be gathering materials for the many experiments and projects included in this book. 

Latin ~ This will be the first year that Jetter studies Latin as a subject.  We will be using the Prima Latina program which I also used with Night Owl and Social Butterfly.  It is designed for teachers with no Latin background (Phew!) and begins very gently.  As a matter of fact, most of what Jetter learns this year will be  vocabulary, which is the fun part for most kids.

Poetry ~ Jetter will be using the same program that Builder will use, Linguistic Development Through Poetry Memorization.  As I stated in the post for Builder, this is a program that we started using last year and both boys really enjoy the selection of poetry to be memorized.  They also like hearing it recited on the CD by Andrew Pudewa, the author.

Finally, there are the subjects of Music, Art and Phys Ed.  For music, Jetter will be taking piano lessons again this year.  Music is something that often gets lost in the shuffle around here so I try to get the kids involved in lessons as soon as they are able.  That ensures that it will get done!  As far as listening to music, we do alot of that, it's the instruction that I don't often get to.  Driving to, (and paying for!) piano lessons isn't something I always appreciate, but it ensures that the kids get proper instruction.
Art is, in some respects, the same because I don't feel like we get to it as much as we should.  However, my children all love to draw and are very motivated to learn drawing techniques.  This is good!  I supply the materials and instruction books and they practice on a regular basis.  At this point, Jetter says he would like to be an architect.  I know he is young, and this can change, but it does encourage him to work on his drawing skills.  I also find it interesting that while Jetter really struggles with handwriting, his ability to draw is pretty good.  MODG recommends a very simple drawing book called the Drawing Textbook that is a great introduction to drawing.  Once again, this is a resource I already have since Night Owl and Social Butterfly also used it.  We will also have some fun art projects scattered throughout the year.  These will be included in another post, but will involve various mediums like clay, wood working, and paint. 
And then, for the grand finale, there is Phys Ed.  As I said in the post regarding Phys Ed for Builder and Beany, I really don't feel that it is something I need to "teach".  My kids are very active ... sometimes too active!  For Phys Ed, besides the usual outdoor play, Jetter will also be involved in a sport.  Like last year, he would like to play football again.  With all the talk about Builder taking Tae Kwon Do though, he might be wavering in his choice.  We'll have to see what the final decision is.

And there, in way too many words, you have the curriculum explanations for Jetter.  One more to follow.  Hopefully I can make Social Butterfly's post a bit shorter!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Planning 2: The Curriculum - Pre K and 1st grade

The picture above is not an "Everyone!  Come look at my beautiful display of books!" picture.  It is an honest look at how I'm getting all our curriculum for next year organized.  The table is a camping table that we dragged up from the basement and all the books were piled on top of it.  At this point, everything is gathered (purchased or found on the bookshelves in the schoolroom) and divided by grade.  In this post I will be talking about the pictured curriculum.  It will be long, and a bit dry, but this is how I get all my thoughts organized on "paper".  I'll take it by grade since the older the kids get, the more subjects they will have.  (Editing to add that due to the length of this post I will be covering Beany and Builder here - preschool and 1st grade, and Jetter and Social Butterfly - 4th and 6th grades - in the following post.)

Beany ~ Beany will be three years old when our school year starts. At this age, truthfully, I don't believe a child needs "academics".  They learn so much through their play and interaction with others.  I do have a plan for him though because that insures some special one on one time for he and I.  The basic idea for him is to follow something like the Read to Me and ABC program I've been reading about.  Beany loves books so the "Read to Me" part will be a joy.  We'll also use some of the ideas for ABC's learning, but I plan to simplify.  I did purchase some folders as the author suggests and we will glue the decorated large letter to the outside of it.  I will only be using a couple of the other activities though, because I don't think he's ready for too much of that.

Beany will also have his very own set of workboxes this year.  The goal with these will be to teach him to work quietly while I work with the other kids.  Four to five boxes will be enough and I'll be teaching him how to do them in order, from left to right.  They will be filled with fun activities that he can do on his own.  I'm hoping to get a sidebar list of all the workbox activities we use posted sometime in the near future.

He'll also have his own notebook.  This will be for him to draw in while the rest of us do copywork at the dining room table. 

The main goal for Beany is to simply teach him how to behave while we are doing school work.  He'll need to learn how to sit at the table with the others and draw while they work, how to use the workboxes during some independent time, how to sit and listen to a story (this will not be difficult - he's always climbing onto my lap with a book!) and how to use things like crayons to color or decorate his letter folders. 
One other goal for Beany will be developing his speech.  He is slow to talk which has been a concern of mine.  We are blessed to have a speech therapist living right next door who has worked with Beany in a casual way.  She gives me lots of ideas and after a short time Beany has gone from barely any "real" words to talking in 2 and 3 word sentences.  It's not perfect and we still need to work on it, but I'm relieved that he is progressing.  Learning the letters and practicing their sounds will also help him in his ability to enunciate the proper sounds of words.

Builder ~ Builder will be in 1st grade this year.  His focus subjects will be the "4 R's" - reading, (w)riting, religion and (A)rithmetic.  We'll also be doing some of the other subjects, but they wont be part of his daily schedule.  Many of them will be workbox activities since they lend themselves well to observation and exploration.

Reading will be a priority this year for Builder.  Last year he learned the sounds of the letters and started blending them to read words.  He is motivated to learn to read all the great books he finds so that will help.
I plan to use the Little Angel Readers as our main curriculum.  I used these with Jetter and I think Builder will do well with them.  I will also be doing some work with sight words.  This is something I haven't done too much of with my children but I am seeing that reading fluency is developed more easily with sight word recognition.  For this purpose, I had planned to simply make some cards and use this pocket chart.  The new words will be placed in the red section, and as he learns them we will move them up to the yellow, and finally the green section.  This will be very motivational for Builder (and Jetter as well) because of the levels.  As I said, I had planned to make the cards, but then I saw these Sight Words in a Flash sets and bought them.  I'm glad I did.  They are very sturdy and will last through Jetter, Builder, and the littles that follow behind.  They also come with holes punched in the top left corner and sturdy rings to put them on.  I'm thinking that as they are learned they will "graduate" to the rings.
As an "add on" in the reading department I will also be working with Builder on narration.  He seems to need some work in the "listening skills" area, and narration is a great method for this!  As I have mentioned in the past we are enrolled with Mother of Divine Grace School .  Using Aesop's Fables is recommended as an art activity.  The child will listen to the fable and then retell it and illustrate it into a special notebook.  We will do that, but I plan to do it on a weekly basis, which is more that Mother of Divine Grace recommends.  We will cover one fable a week.  I also plan to have Builder do copy work from the fables as handwriting practice.  That Resource Site has some great printables for this purpose.  This actually covers that second "R" I mentioned above - writing.

For Math, I will be using the Arithmetic 1 book from Abeka, as recommended by Mother of Divine Grace.  This is a strong, thorough program and I think Builder will do well with it.  Since Builder is a very "hands on learner" I will be supplementing with the many manipulatives we have on our school room shelves.  The workboxes are a great place to add this manipulative work.  Here is a picture of just a few of the manipulatives Builder will be learning to use this year.  The abacus is not an official "Montessori Abacus" but I've used it with the other kids and it works just fine.  The addition board is new this year and I think it will really help Builder with addition.  The "Wrap Ups" will help him memorize his addition facts which I think is important.

Religion, is probably the most important "subject" we cover.  This is because our Faith is very much a part of who we are.  We try to live the Catholic Faith and through that living, teach our children. Attending Mass, going to Confession, reading the Bible, celebrating the feast days of the saints and our regular daily prayer times are all ways we try to live our faith.  There is also a need to study Religion as an academic subject. This year, Religion for Builder will involve 3 different areas of study: the Bible, lives of the saints, and catechism.
For the Bible, we will read one story a week.  These stories will be re-told (narrated) and illustrated into his notebook.  Our study of the lives of the saints will be similar.  We will be using the books Once Upon a Time Saints  and More Once Upon a Time Saints by the same author.  I've used these books with all of the children so far and they are enjoyable.  For Catechism, Builder will be using the New Saint Joseph's First Communion Catechism .  This is a simple and sweet explanation of our Catholic Faith.  Jetter just loved the pictures and using them as a prompt, he was able to explain the concept taught in the lesson.  This was a great review activity.  I'm sure Builder will do well with this book too.

Beyond these basics, Builder will also be doing poetry memorization, some science and nature study,  music, art and history.

For Poetry Memorization we started using Linguistic Development Through Poetry Memorization by Andrew Pudewa.  This is a program I purchased last year and the boys did well with it.  I think they found that they could more easily memorize the poems when they heard them read by Mr. Pudewa.  They also enjoyed the selection of poems!

For Science and Nature Study I have a very simple plan of continuing our nature hikes.  Inspired by these plans at Lapaz Home Learning I will be changing our approach a bit.  In the past, we have taken nature hikes and allowed what we observed to inspire us to read further.  This was fine but sometimes, I didn't have a good book with information about the animal or plant we saw, or the information we could find on line was too technical to arouse interest in my younger students.  This year, as in the blog post above, I am going to plan some great books about nature that we will read first.  Then, during the hikes (or just by looking out our window) we can hopefully observe that plant of animal in it's natural habitat.  If not, that is okay as the book will still be a great source of information.  Look for a list of these nature study books in the side bar soon (hopefully!).  I also purchased a butterfly garden that Builder will enjoy this year.  We will do a nature study focus on butterflies when it is time to open it.

For Music, Builder will eventually learn to play the piano but I don't feel that he is ready for that yet.  Instead of learning an instrument this year we will concentrate on listening to, and learning about some of the great composers.  Mother of Divine Grace recommends these picture books that come with CD's  (there are more in this series) that I think Builder will enjoy, and the other kids as well.

I don't have any formal studies in history planned for Builder.  Instead, I have the Exploring Ancient Egypt Fun Kit that Builder will enjoy working on during the history reading portion of our day.  Social Butterfly will be studying Ancient Egypt this year and there are many books that I will be reading aloud to them in the morning.  The coloring books, stickers, etc. in this kit will help Builder while I read some of these books that might have language that is above his comprehension.  I actually purchased activities for all the kids that they can work on and still listen to the books being read.  More about those later.

For Builder's Art lessons we will be using Art 1 For Young Catholics available from Seton.  This book will not only provide art lessons but will also help us as we celebrate the Liturgical Year.  I also have various art projects and supplies that will be used in Builder's workboxes.  Simple cut and paste activities as well as projects using paint, pastels and clay will be included.  I will write more about these later as they will involve all the kids.

                                                                   (Builder, rock wall climbing)
Finally, there is Phys. Ed.  I truly feel like I don't need to schedule any physical activity into our day for any of the kids because they are constantly running, jumping, climbing, etc.  Sometimes I wish they weren't so active, but truthfully, I believe their good health is a result of the active play and time outdoors. 
Having said that, I also believe it is important to enroll each of the kids in at least one sport a year.  This isn't so much for their need for physical activity but for the other lessons involved: learning to play as a team member, listening to the coach, discipline, skills that come with each individual sport, etc.  I usually give the kids a choice as to what they would like to do.  This year, Builder is deciding between Tai Kwon Do (I'm not sure I've spelled that correctly!) and Flag Football.  We're going to have to visit a few of the Tai Kwon Do classes to see what we think.

So there it is for Beany and Builder!  Phew!  I'll be posting about Jetter and Social Butterfly in an up and coming post.